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The purpose of the State of the Metals and Engineering Sector Report

The main aim of the report is to track whether the sector is expanding or declining and several longitudinal data and trends (which are often very volatile) are monitored accordingly. The study makes use of an eclectic methodology in its analyses and entails comparing the most current data point to the one immediately preceding it. It also makes use of a monthly and annual analyses, including several year-to-date versus previous year comparisons. The approach helps in contextualising the growth trend in the industry, in generally highlighting the various drivers of growth (or lack of) and in predicting output trends in the sector with a high confidence interval. Ad hoc monthly commentary and periodic reviews are subsequently published as derivatives of the research report.

The second objective of the study is to provide an intrinsic understanding of the dynamics of observed trends. The analysis in this regard is evidenced-based, robust and compelling, further igniting several discourses. Resultantly, more in-depth reviews and opinion pieces of specific drivers have been conducted and published in several platforms. Some of these include the SEIFSA News journal and domestic newspapers including technical publications.

The third objective is for the report to ignite interest and provide evidenced-based impetus for collaboration advocacy and lobbying. Collaboration and lobbying should be aimed at reducing specific constraints as identified in various internal for a within SEIFSA. Given that the EC division acts as a repository of much of the information on the sector’s economic performance over the years, an important aspect of the research is, therefore, in facilitating advocacy and lobbying initiatives in several external forums.

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The level of advice sought from SEIFSA by policy makers and the impact it had dealing with metals crisis over the years proved how valuable this can be. SEIFSA has received positive indications that it will still be part of a soon to be reconstructed steel price monitoring committee and this is good for the industry. SEIFSA currently serves in other forums including the Technical Sectoral Liaison Committee (TELESICO), the National Economic Development and Labour Council’s (NEDLAC’s) Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Manufacturer’s Trade and Tariffs forum and BUSA’s Economic Policy and Tax Policy committees, including other sub-committees.

A substantive input was made when EIFSA recently held a high-level meeting with President Ramaphosa’s Economic Adviser and a team of investment envoys of the South African government. The meeting provided an opportunity for all parties to discuss salient issues affecting investments into the M&E cluster in particular and the broader manufacturing sector in general. Moreover, it also reaffirmed the importance of business maintaining a good working relationship with the Government (and the governing party) and to continuously work towards broadly improving local economic conditions.

Another substantive input was made when SEIFSA and Transnet recently launched a joint Working Group (WG) with the mandate of addressing prevailing inefficiencies towards ultimately reducing logistics costs for the businesses. Effectively three working streams were created by the joint SEIFSA-Transnet WG to continue with the objective of the working group. These include the logistic efficiency, the competitiveness and benchmarking work streams. Progress reports from these initiatives will be made available to stake holders on a regular basis as stipulated in the WG terms of reference document.

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